Canada Holds Off Russian Rally to Win WJC Title
It's been a while for both of these hockey powerhouses.
Russia last won junior gold in 2011; Canada's latest triumph was in 2009.
The International Ice Hockey Federation U20 Championship -- aka the World Juniors -- is a pleasant event tucked into the holiday schedule every December that the puck-crazed Canucks have parlayed into a media spectacle.
Not to mention a cash cow.
And the tournament rarely disappoints. It's a compact, two-week event, so the energy level is off the charts. As usual, this culminates in the gold medal game, where last night, Canada and Russia's best 17-to-20-year-olds put on a high-octane show:
Familiar faces abound in the highlight clip. Prominent among them is Connor McDavid, the odds-on first pick in this spring's NHL draft. Then there's Max Domi, scion of renowned enforcer Tie, an ex-Leaf so popular, Toronto fans are already clamoring for a trade with Phoenix, who drafted Max. But where the dad made his name without touching a puck, the son can dangle.
The elder Domi's legacy was present throughout Canada's path to the gold. Their openly chippy attitude, though, was hardly a factor against a team like the USA that's more than happy to mix it up. Still, where Canada kept its settings at annoying, the USA crashed out of the proceedings with a 3-2 loss to Russia in the quarters because it just couldn't contain itself:
And so while the Great White North rejoices over its latest display of hockey superiority, the Russian youngsters can at least console themselves with the thought that they did what Putin's best couldn't do at Sochi: exit with a medal.